Five of our Year 12 French A Level students went to Lille during the February half-term break to take part in work experience and stay with host families. Read their stories in their own words here:


I completed my work placement in a holiday club over February half-term. I worked with children aged 4 and 5 and had a very fun time! We had a very busy rota that consisted of team games, swimming, creative time and dance, and although it was tiring keeping up with their limitless amounts of energy, I improved my French hugely and realised that I’d love to work with children in the future. It was a really valuable experience for me to hear conversational French being spoken all the time, not only at work but also with the wonderful host family with whom myself and my friend Lucia stayed. After work, we would usually meet up in the square to go shopping, have dinner, drink coffee or experience the culture that Lille had to offer. After that, we would go home to the host family, who spoke only French to us for the week. I would 100% recommend this trip to anyone who wishes to improve their language learning skills.



My work placement was in a hospital where I worked in a maternity ward, which involved shadowing nurses checking up regularly on newborn babies and their mothers, and also doing tasks such as checking the height and weight of the babies and communicating with the mothers as well to reassure and comfort them. My favourite experience was with an English speaking mother who couldn’t understand French and so was very confused when talking with the French nurses, so I was able to act as a translator and allow the nurses to relay information to the mother, and help her feel more reassured. Lille is also an extremely beautiful city, with lots of architecture and pretty streets, and lots of places to eat and shop. I also got to stay with a host family with Maddy, and it was very fascinating because I could experience a new lifestyle and immerse myself in the new culture and food. Also, having to constantly speak French was tiring and demanding but overall it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to go to France. !!



During my week in Lille, I worked in a toy shop named Oxybul, where I was almost constantly speaking to customers and the other members of staff. Despite being tricky for the first few days as the majority of questions involved either where toys could be found in the shop or vocabulary involving toys which I didn’t yet know, after finding my feet in the shop everything became much more natural and effortless. In our free time, not only did we spend lots of money in Paul’s bakery, but we also made the most of our independence, finding our way around Lille and quickly discovering the phenomenal shopping centre! To truly make the most out of this trip I think staying with a host family is undoubtedly the best option. Lily and I stayed with a wonderful family who lived just on the outskirts of the city. They spoke constant French and although it was slightly terrifying at first, we swiftly became accustomed to the neverending questions and soon enough, could hold a conversation with them confidently. For anyone wanting to learn/improve their French, I would 100% recommend this experience!



I completed my work placement in a restaurant called La Chicorée which is quite famous in the region. Being a busy restaurant there was a lot to do and I completed a diverse range of tasks which greatly improved my French. From 9:00 – 11:00 I would help set up the restaurant, chat with the other workers and clean the terrace. This was mainly physical work such as lifting and moving things. Afterwards we would all eat together and I spoke to the other workers. This was a great opportunity to improve my French but I found I definitely had to take the initiative in leading the conversation. After lunch we would serve customers; I made coffees and prepared desserts where I learned a lot about French cuisine.


However, we had a lot of free time. Although I had to wake up quite early, we did a lot in the evenings. We visited the Palais des Beaux Arts Lille which is an art museum, and a very famous book market in the centre of Lille. These were definitely my two favourite experiences and I would recommend them. Of course the food in Lille was delicious and we had a lot of opportunities to try regional specialties as well as bakery items. We had lots of chances to socialise as a group so we formed lots of new friendships on the trip. It also meant we could discuss what we had learned together and help each other in understanding and speaking French. For anyone who wants to become a fluent French speaker this experience is 100% worthwhile.



My work placement was at a bowling alley and I was behind the bar; this included making coffees and drinks and helping customers with any problems. At first, it was really daunting, but it got easier as the week went on. I stayed with a host family who made the experience so much better and it was a great opportunity to practice my French and see what it was like to live in France. After I finished work, I would walk to the city centre and spend the rest of the evenings with my friends shopping or at a café – I fell in love with Paul’s bakery and that might be what I miss the most. This was an amazing experience in a beautiful city that I would definitely recommend as it was really fun and my French improved a lot.